How to Halt the Four Horseman of Toxic Communication – PART TWO
The Second Horseman is CONTEMPT
Contempt is the actions that convey the sense to another that they are worthless or beneath our consideration. It shows up when we make statements that come from a position of us being morally superior.
Some good examples of this are name-calling, mockery, sarcasm, eye-rolling and degrading or hostile humour.
Contempt is regarded to be destructive and defeating. By its very nature, it seeks to destroy the person whom it is aimed at slowly but surely. If ever there was a predictor of a relationship that is in severe trouble, this is it.
The remedy to contempt is to restore appreciation and respect in your relationship. Two of the most common things asked for by couples when looking at rebuilding their relationship are:
– I need respect
– I need appreciation
Both are important, and by restoring both of them into your relationship, significant progress will be made towards restoring the relationship as a whole.
Contempt: “You forgot to load the dishwasher again? Ugh. You are so incredibly lazy.” (Rolls eyes.)
Remedy: “I understand that you’ve been busy lately, but could you please remember to load the dishwasher when I work late? I’d appreciate it.”
By taking the time to express appreciation for the things that your partner does in the relationship, and by taking the time to listen to what they are saying and giving it due consideration (respect), you will start to counteract the negatives that exist through contempt.
As you start to feel more positive about the relationship, you are less likely to express contempt.
This may seem difficult at first, depending on the level of contempt that exists currently exists in the relationship. My suggestion to couples is that you make it your mission to find one thing per day that your partner does that you appreciate. Aim to find a different thing each day. It does not have to be something huge. It could be simple as “made me a great cup of coffee”.